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LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week

March 18-22 is LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week.

At VA, we serve our Veterans with the equitable, inclusive, and respectful health care you deserve. Today, VA provides care to more than six million Veterans with a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities. And a growing proportion of VA users are LGBTQ+ Veterans—with over 104,000 who are enrolled in VA health care—many of whom have unique and varied needs.

Sexual orientation and gender identity matter in health care. We know that some LGBTQ+ people have experienced bias or discrimination. That is why we celebrate LGBTQ+ Health Awareness Week by reminding Veterans that we provide personalized health care that understands the specific risk and protective factors based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age and other individual factors.

We encourage all Veterans to receive routine exams and take advantage of the mental health resources we offer. Our providers are trained to know both specific risk and protective factors that impact health care based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, age and other individual factors. 

We provide comprehensive care for LGBTQ+ Veterans, including routine and specialty health services. We encourage Veterans to talk about all aspects of their lives with their providers, including sexual orientation and gender identity so that we can provide the best care possible.

Building a safe and welcoming environment for all Veterans

Veterans with LGBTQ+ identities are less likely to seek routine care because of experiencing discrimination and bias. Research suggests they may have higher risks for health problems such as heart disease, suicide, mental health conditions including PTSD, substance use and some cancers.

We know that each Veteran has unique health care goals and needs, including our LGBTQ+ Veterans. That is why at every VA facility we have an LGBTQ+ Veteran Care Coordinator (VCC) to help Veterans navigate health care. Find your local VCC.

The VCCs not only build a safe and welcoming environment for our Veterans, but also provide education and trainings to providers and teams. VCCs can connect LGBTQ+ Veterans to resources both at VA and in the community. VA is committed to promoting health and wellness through providing vital services to LGBTQ+ Veterans.

VA is addressing these challenges for Veterans by offering a suite of comprehensive health care services, which include:

Gender-affirming therapies, including hormone treatment

Substance use/alcohol treatment

Tobacco use treatment

Treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for Veterans at risk for HIV

Intimate partner violence reduction and treatment of after effects

Military sexual trauma screening and treatment of after effects

Suicide prevention services 

Whole Health

Cancer screening, prevention and treatment

Virtual Mental Health Care: Veterans can connect with a VA mental health provider through a computer or mobile device from the comfort of their homes or at their nearest VA health facility

Reproductive health services, including contraception, family building, specialty gynecology care, pregnancy care, menopause management

Infertility: VA is committed to helping Veterans navigate challenges that may arise from issues with fertility and the conception of a child.

More information can be found here on LGBTQ+ Health at VA and resources.

Our promise

Veterans who come to VA are proven to have better health outcomes, higher patient satisfaction ratings, and 91% report that they trust VA health care. But we are not only committed to providing you with the very best health care—we are also committed to making sure that whenever you walk into a VA facility, you know that you will be treated with the care, compassion and respect you deserve. Creating a welcoming, respectful and inclusive space for all Veterans at every VA facility—while promoting health care—positively affects the mental and physical well-being of our patients. We will never settle for anything less, and we encourage LGBTQ+ Veterans—and all eligible Veterans—to come to us for their care today.

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